Shopping for a Pentair pool cleaner?
You’ve come to the right place.
You probably know Pentair’s most popular pool cleaner – the Kreepy Krauly. But they make many other pool vacuums, including the Pentair Warrior SE robotic pool cleaner and the Pentair Legend pressure cleaner.
Pentair’s pool vacuums are reliable, clean,high performing, very easy to maintain, and highly durable, which means they last many seasons. They are a bit pricier than other brands, but you get a better quality and longer-lasting product.
What’s In This Buying Guide?
In this in-depth buying guide, we review the best Pentair pool cleaners and give you tips on choosing the right one for your pool
Best Pentair Pool Cleaners
Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com
- Best suction cleaner for in-ground pools
- 2yr warranty
Kreepy Krauly Racer
- Best pressure cleaner for in-ground pools
- 1yr warranty
Kreepy Krauly Prowler 920
- Best robotic cleaner for in-ground pools
- 2yr warranty
Kreepy Krauly Great White
- Best suction cleaner with scrubbing brushes
- 2yr warranty
Kreepy Krauly Kruiser
- Best budget Kreepy Krauly suction cleaner
- 2yr warranty
Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark
- Best suction cleaner for above ground pools
- 1yr warranty
214 Pro Vac
- Best vacuum head
- Not specified
Most pool owners keep their Kreepy Krauly around for 5-10 years before replacing it with a new one. That’s how reliable and durable this pool cleaner is.
The main reason for its longevity is the one moving part design. Unlike complicated cleaners with gears, motors, wheels, and a gazillion moving parts, the Kreepy Krauly rarelyever breaks down.
The only part that shows age is the pleated seal, which you can replace after some time.
Kreepy Krauly is a suction side cleaner. You connect it to the suction or skimmer port.
The cleaner comes with 40’ of hose sections. Only connect the ones you need to cover your pool size. You also get weights to keep the hoses at the bottom of the pool.
Because the Kreepy Krauly doesn’t have its own filter, it picks up debris and removes it from the pool via the pool filter.
Though this places extra strain on your pool filter, it means there’s no debris bag to clean. But you do need to backwash the pool filter more regularly.
The Pentair Kreepy Krauly covers almost all parts of the pool, including the walls. The only place it may not clean is the steps.
Issues & Limitations
Unlike a robotic cleaner that you put in the pool and walk away, the Pentair Kreepy Krauly requires some initial adjustments to get it to run smoothly.
You’ll need to remain vigilant andobserve it the first couple of days to see if it runs too slowly, too fast, or keeps getting stuck. Adjusting the regulator valve should fix the problem.
Note: The Pentair Kreepy Krauly needs a minimum 1.5 HP pump.
The other limitation compared to a robotic cleaner is that the Kreepy Krauly relies on both your pool pump and filter.
This places extra strain on your pool system and can increase power consumption.
The Pentair Kreepy Krauly is best for: In-groundpool owners looking for a reliable and long-lasting suction pool cleaner from Pentair.
Avoid if: You prefer a cleaner that doesn’t connect to your pool filter. Get a pressure or robotic vac instead.
If you prefer a pressure-side cleaner, the Pentair Kreepy Krauly Racer is the best alternative to the original Kreepy Krauly.
It connects to your pool’s return port, leaving your pool filter free to keep working.
On the downside, it is significantly more expensive compared to the Kreepy Krauly suction side cleaner.
The Pentair Kreepy Krauly Racer is one of the most powerful pressure-side pool cleaners in the market.
Unlike Polaris cleaners with three venturi jets (which are responsible for creating a vacuum to suck debris), the Racer has four jets. It generates more suction and has no trouble picking all kinds of debris, from leaves to sand.
The larger vacuum inlet also means it can pick up debris larger than most pressure cleaners.
The Kreepy Krauly Racer doesn’t just vacuum the pool; it also has brushes to scrub stubborn dirt and algae off the pool surface.
And because it covers almost the entire pool, including the walls, you don’t need to do manual cleaning that often.
The Kreepy Krauly Racer moves on four wheels and automatically reverses after some distance. The forward and reverse movements not only improve pool coverage they also ensure the cleaner doesn’t get stuck on tight spots such as the corners and steps.
Similar to other pressure and suction cleaners, the Kreepy Krauly Racer is not a plug-and-play cleaner. Once you connect the hoses and attach the cleaner to the return port, you’ll need to play around with the flow gauge to make sure the cleaner moves smoothly and can climb walls.
But after the initial setup, it’s super easy to operate.
Issues & Limitations
If you are shopping on a budget, the Kreepy Krauly Racer is probably not what you are looking for.
It’s pricier than the Pentair Kreepy Krauly suction cleaner, and that’s before you add the cost of a booster pump, which is required to use the Kreepy Krauly Racer.
The most significant advantage of robotic pool cleaners is that they are self-contained. The Kreepy Krauly Prowler 920 generates its own propulsion, meaning it doesn’t rely on the pool pump, and you don’t need to buy a booster pump.
This can reduce your pool’s power consumption.
It also comes with a debris basket, which reduces pool filter maintenance and increases its lifespan.
Unlike pressure and suction cleaners, the Prowler 920 is plug-and-play. You don’t need to set up any hoses or adjust valves. Simply plug in the power station and drop the cleaner into the water.
The Prowler 920 generates powerful suction, picking up debris as it moves along the pool surface. It also has a high-speed brush that scrubs the pool to dislodge algae and build-up.
Moving on two wide tracks, the Prowler 920 covers the entire pool. It moves over the bottom, goes up the wall to the waterline, and even cleans the steps without getting stuck.
Thanks to the long 60ft power cord, it effortlessly covers extra-large pools up to 50’ long.
You get two filters – one for large debris like leaves and another for fine debris like sand. Swapping between the two filters is easy and quick.
Issues & Limitations
The Kreepy Krauly Prowler 920 has an auto-cleaning weekly timer. However, most pool owners don’t find it that helpful since it’s not a good idea to leave the cleaner in the pool after the cleaning cycle.
So, you have to put it in the pool manually any time you want to clean the pool.
Another issue with the Prowler 920 is weight, and it’s heavy and quite tedious to put into and pull out of the pool.
It’s also expensive. If you are shopping on a budget, a suction cleaner is a much cheaper option.
The Pentair Kreepy Krauly Prowler 920 is best for: In-ground pool owners shopping for a well-made, high-performance robotic pool cleaner from Pentair.
Avoid if: You want a pool cleaner you can leave in the pool for days. Also, not the best choice if you are shopping for a budget pool cleaner.
If you want a suction side cleaner that will both vacuum and scrub your pool, we recommend the Pentair GW9500 Kreepy Krauly Great White.
Most suction pool cleaners, including the Pentair 360042 Kreepy Krauly, do not have scrubbing brushes. They only vacuum the pool.
In contrast, the Kreepy Krauly Great White has rows of brushes underneath that ensure a thorough clean.
Instead of moving on wheels or a flapper like other suction cleaners, the Kreepy Krauly Great White moves on a row of bristles located all around the vacuum head.
As it moves across the pool surface, these bristles scrub algae off the surface and dislodge any stuck dirt and build-up.
Additional bristles around the vacuum inlet sweep debris into the mouth of the cleaner.
The Great White is a suction cleaner, so it relies on your pool filter to remove debris. You’ll want to stay on top of filter maintenance to ensure the cleaner and the pool system always runs smoothly.
The Kreepy Krauly also relies on your pool pump. That can increase power consumption, but the Kreepy Krauly Great White is, fortunately, more efficient than other suction cleaners.
It doesn’t need a high water flow to generate powerful suction. This is good news if you have a variable speed pump. You can run the Great White at a lower speed and save on electricity.
The Kreepy Krauly Great White has programmed steering that drives the cleaner in specific patterns. This ensures it covers the entire pool, including the walls, and keeps it from getting stuck on obstacles.
If it misses a few spots, you can attach a standard pool pole and drive it manually.
Note: You may need to adjust water flow using the included flow gauge and regulator valve to ensure the Kreepy Krauly Great White moves smoothly and can climb walls.
Issues & Limitations
While the Kreepy Krauly Great White is an excellent wall-climber, it struggles with steps. But you can easily attach a pole and vacuum those yourself in a few minutes.
The other issue is cost. Perhaps because of the advanced design, the Kreepy Krauly Great White costs more than other suction cleaners, including the original kreepy Krauly.
The Kreepy Krauly Great White is best for: In-ground pool owners looking for a Pentair suction cleaner that scrubs and vacuums the pool.
Avoid if: You are looking for a low-priced suction cleaner.
If you are shopping on a budget, the Pentair K60430 Kreepy Krauly Kruiser is the cheapest Kreepy Krauly suction cleaner.
The Kruiser is also a great choice for pool owners who find the original Kreepy Krauly too noisy. The Kruiser has a different flapper design that eliminates the annoying thumping sound.
Though cheaper than the classic Kreepy Krauly, the Kreepy Krauly Kruiser cleans almost as well. It’s probably a bit slower and will take longer to clean the entire pool, but it gets the job done.
The biggest reason, other than saving money, to get the cheaper Kreepy Krauly Kruiser is noise level. The original Kreepy Krauly can be annoyingly noisy, especially on concrete and gunite pools.
In contrast, it’s impossible to tell whether the Kreepy Krauly Kruiser is running without seeing it moving about in the pool. It’s that quiet.
The Kreepy Krauly Kruiser generates enough suction to pick up all kinds of debris, both large and fine. Because it doesn’t have its own filter bag, all the debris goes to the pool filter.
As long as you’ve set it up properly, the Kreepy Krauly Kruiser should easily go up the walls and clean the entire bottom. A built-in bumper allows it to clean around steps and the ladder without getting stuck.
Issues & Limitations
The main downside of suction cleaners is that they take some time to figure out how to get running smoothly. You have to play around with the water flow (using the included flow gauge and regulator valve) until the cleaner is moving at the right speed and can scale the walls.
If you prefer a convenient plug-and-play pool cleaner, get the Prowler 920 robotic cleaner instead.
The other downside of the Kreepy Krauly Kruiser, and other suction cleaners, is the reliance on your pool system, including the filter and pump.
As a result, power consumption is higher compared to using a robotic pool cleaner. You also have to backwash the pool filter more often.
The Kreepy Krauly Kruiser is best for: In-ground pool owners looking for an affordable Kreepy Krauly suction cleaner. It’s also a great choice for those looking for a quiet Kreepy Krauly.
Avoid if: You prefer a robotic pool cleaner.
The Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark is one of the few above-ground suction pool cleaners that come with scrubbing brushes.
It vacuums and scrubs the pool for a more thorough clean. If your above-ground pool often gets lots of algae and build-up, Lil Shark is great.
It produces lots of suction, enough to pick up all kinds of debris.
While the Lil Shark will not climb pool walls (most above-ground pool cleaners don’t climb walls), it does an excellent job on the bottom of the pool. It even has pre-programmed navigation to ensure it doesn’t miss any spots.
You can also adjust the movements of the Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark to better suit your pool size and shape. You can set it to move in wide circles, moderate circles, or tight circles.
To get the best cleaning performance, you’ll need a fairly powerful pump. If your Intex pool came with a small pump with less than 1000 GPH flow rate, replace it with a minimum 1500 GPH pump.
Issues & Limitations
You’ll need to keep up with pool filter maintenance since the Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark relies on it to remove all the debris it vacuums. This increases the number of backwashes needed and reduces filter lifespan.
You may also experience increased power consumption from your pool pump since it has to be on for the Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark to clean.
The Kreepy Krauly Lil Shark is best for: Above ground pool owners looking for a reliable Kreepy Krauly that does a great job cleaning the pool.
Avoid if: You prefer a pool cleaner that doesn’t rely on your pool pump or filter. Get a robotic cleaner instead.
A pool vacuum head is the cheapest type of pool cleaner you can get. The downside, of course, is that it’s manual.
While you don’t get the convenience of an automatic pool cleaner, the Pentair 214 Pro Vac is designed to make manual vacuuming as easy as possible.
The wide 14” vacuum head covers lots of ground quickly, allowing you to vacuum your pool in less time. The suction chamber generates a powerful vacuum that sucks in all kinds of debris.
The wide vacuum inlet captures even larger debris like leaves, acorns, and twigs.
Underneath the vacuum head are strips that help direct debris into the mouth of the vacuum, so you don’t have to keep chasing debris around.
The Pentair Pro Vac comes with wheels (which you can adjust to change how quickly the vacuum moves), so it’s easy to push it around along the pool bottom and up the walls.
The vacuum head has some flexibility and can contour to rounded corners. But if your pool has sharp 90-degree edges and corners, the Pentair Pro Vac won’t be able to get to them.
The Pro Vac comes with a swivel metal handle that connects to a standard pool pole and a 1.5” swivel hose connection.
Issues & Limitations
Unlike automatic cleaners that usually come ready to use, the Pentair Pro Vac requires some accessories that you have to buy separately.
These include a pool pole (you probably already have one) and a vacuum hose.
There’s also the fact that this is a manual pool cleaner. It takes more time and effort to clean the pool compared to an automatic vacuum.
The Pentair Pro Vac is best for: Pool owners looking for a good quality and easy-to-use manual pool vacuum head.
Avoid if: You prefer the convenience of an automatic pool cleaner.
Pentair Pool Cleaner Buying Guide
Pentair is a proven brand in the pool equipment industry. Since they’ve been around for decades, pool owners have had a chance to see just how reliable and long-lasting Pentair pool cleaners are.
The results have been impressive. A well-maintained Kreepy Krauly, whether it’s the classic one, the robotic Prowler 920, or the cute Lil Shark, will last you 5-10 years with minimal maintenance.
We especially love the ‘one moving part’ design that makes Pentair cleaners so durable.
Pentair stands behind its products with either a one-year or a two-year warranty and highly responsive customer service.
As for cleaning performance, Pentair pool cleaners are some of the best. They are easy to set up, most of them are great wall climbers, and they do a great job picking up debris.
What to Look for In A Pentair Pool Cleaner
Wondering which Pentair pool cleaner to get? Here’s what to consider when comparing different models.
1. Type of Pool Cleaner
Pentair sells four types of pool cleaners: suction, pressure, robotic and manual vacuum heads.
Get a suction cleaner if you want an affordable automatic pool cleaner or don’t want to deal with a debris bag.
The main downside of suction cleaners is that they rely on both your pool pump and filter to operate.
Get a pressure cleaner if you want an automatic pool cleaner that comes with its own debris bag. A pressure cleaner relies on just your pool pump.
On the downside, Pentair pressure cleaners are pricier, and they need a booster pump.
Get a robotic cleaner if you want a fully self-contained automatic pool cleaner. A robotic cleaner runs independently of your pool pump and filter.
But robotic cleaners are pricey, and they can be tedious to handle because of their weight. Also, you can’t leave it in the pool most of the time, like other automatic cleaners.
Get a manual pool vacuum head if you want a cheap Pentair pool cleaner.
2. Pool Type and Size
Check the type of pool the cleaner is designed for. Most Pentair pool cleaners are for in-ground pools, but they have some above-ground cleaners as well.
In addition, check the max pool size the cleaner can handle. This depends on the length of the cord (for a robotic cleaner) or hose.
Note that you can always order more hose sections with pressure and suction cleaners if your pool is longer than the total length of the included hose.
3. Setup Requirements
Check if the cleaner comes with specific setup requirements such as a minimum pump size, a booster pump, and flow rate.
Also, make sure the wall fittings included are compatible with your pool.
4. Cleaning Performance
Finally, check how well the pool cleaner performs. All Pentair pool cleaners are great, but some models are a bit better.
Models that come with bristles have the best cleaning performance since they scrub and vacuum the pool.
If you are getting an in-ground cleaner, make sure it has no trouble cleaning the pool walls.
Pros & Cons
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do Pentair pool cleaners last?
Most Pentair pool cleaners last between 5 and 10 years with good maintenance. However, you may need to replace some worn-out parts before then.
Can you leave a Pentair pool cleaner in the pool?
If it’s a pressure or suction cleaner, you can leave it in the pool all the time except when you are swimming or adding chemicals.
If it’s a robotic pool cleaner, take it out of the pool after each cycle.
Are Pentair pool cleaners worth it?
Pentair pool cleaners are some of the best in the market. They are reliable, they clean well, and they last a long time.